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Lee Health Neurosurgery: First in SW Florida to Add Robot for Spine Surgery

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Author name: Lee Health

Innovation Robot Surgery Graphic

Optimus Prime. R2-D2. C-3PO. WALL-E.  In popular culture, these robots have thrilled generations of moviegoers. But in real life, not “reel life,” robotic technology continues to advance by leaps and bounds that stagger the imagination, especially in healthcare.

Now starring at Lee Health: the ExcelsiusGPS robot, which features the most advanced technology in the field of robotic surgery. Board-certified neurology surgeon Michael Fromke of Lee Health's Lee Physician Group says it’s the first robot to combine a robotic arm and full navigation capabilities for patients who need neurosurgery.

“Robotic-assisted surgery offers huge benefits to our patients,” Dr. Fromke says. “The addition of the ExcelsiusGPS system to our program means patients won’t have to travel outside our area to get the surgery they need. We’re proud to bring this leading-edge technology to Southwest Florida because it can enhance patient safety and improve their surgical outcomes.”

Lee Health neurosurgeons used the ExcelsiusGPS for brain and spinal surgeries, brain tumor removal, biopsies, placement of catheters, blood clot removal, and managing symptoms of tremors.

Smarter, faster, stronger technology for spine surgery patients

Because robotic-assisted surgical procedures are minimally invasive, patients generally experience less pain after surgery, have a quicker recovery and shorter length of stay in the hospital, and need less medication, Dr. Fromke says.

See the ExcelsiusGPS robot in action.

Why minimally invasive surgery matters

Minimally invasive surgery combines your surgeon’s understanding of anatomy with X-ray imaging to treat spine conditions using small incisions. A minimally invasive technique permits the surgeon to separate the muscles surrounding the spine rather than cut through them. The surgeon operates through small incisions along the spine.

Dr. Fromke notes that the decision to receive minimally invasive surgery is individualized to the patient and the patient's symptoms. But minimally invasive surgery can lead to shorter hospital stays, less tissue damage, and smaller incisions which may lead to smaller scars.

All robotics use mapping based on images of the patient’s anatomy. However, the ExcelsiusGPS uses real-time navigation technology that works like the GPS in your car, except with greater precision.

Here’s how the ExcelsiusGPS works in spinal surgery:

  • After the patient’s medical imaging has been uploaded to the ExcelsiusGPS system, the surgeon uses these images with the robotic software to develop a precise surgical plan. This plan guides the robotic arm to a specific region of your spine, like a planned route or pathway on a GPS. The surgeon uses this pathway or route to accurately place the implants using instruments.
  • During the procedure, a screen continuously displays the surgical instruments and implants. The display allows the surgeon and team to monitor live feedback during the procedure for more precise implant placement.

“This minimally invasive procedure typically allows patients to get out of bed the day of the surgery and may be discharged the day after surgery,” Dr. Fromke says. “Many patients will notice improvement of some or all of their symptoms, and pain from surgery may diminish between 2 to 4 weeks after surgery. However, recovery time varies between patients.”

In addition to the ExcelsiusGPS, Lee Health’s robotic-assisted surgery program also features the da Vinci Xi Surgical System, which is designed to help surgeons perform minimally invasive surgeries, such as colorectal surgeries and unique surgeries in the areas of gynecology, urology, ear nose and throat and general surgery.

To find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery with ExcelsiusGPS®, please request an appointment online or call. It is important to discuss whether minimally invasive surgery is right for you.

The ExcelsiusGPS® can be used for procedures such as

  • Neck surgery
  • Lower back surgery
  • Scoliosis correction
  • Fracture repairs

ExcelsiusGPS also is approved for pedicle screw placement in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. The following procedures are treatment options that may include pedicle screw placement:

  • Posterior fusion
  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion
  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
  • Posterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Minimally invasive surgery

To find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery with ExcelsiusGPS, call Lee Health Neurosurgery at 239-343-3800.